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FTC rules Outlawing Robocalls

Posted by Shamn on 08/31/2009

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Thursday it is banning many types of prerecorded telemarketing solicitations, known as robocalls. Consumers now must specifically join a do-not-call list to avoid them. Starting Sept. 1, telemarketers will need written permission from the customer to make such calls.
“American consumers have made it crystal clear that few things annoy them more than the billions of commercial telemarketing robocalls they receive every year,” said Jon Leibowitz, FTC chairman.
Violators will face penalties of up to $16,000 a call. Don’t expect phone solicitations to disappear completely.
Calls that are not aimed at selling goods and services to consumers will be exempt, such as those that provide information such as flight cancellations and delivery notices and those from debt collectors.
Other calls not covered include those from politicians, charities that contact consumers directly, banks, insurers, phone companies, surveys and certain health-care messages, such as prescription notifications. The FTC said those don’t fall under its jurisdiction.
Calls made by humans rather than automated systems will still be allowed, unless the phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry. But FTC officials said the ban should cover most robocalls, forcing marketers to turn to more expensive live calls, or ramp up efforts in direct mail, e-mail and TV ads.
The ban is part of amendments to the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule announced a year ago. Because the ban has been known, telemarketers have been phasing out robocalls, said Tim Searcy, chief executive of the American Teleservices Association, a trade group whose members include telemarketers. Searcy also said the ban will do little to stop calls touting illegal scams.

One thing that drives me crazy is receiving commercial pre-recorded telemarketing solicitations. Before adding my phone number to National do not call registry, I receive calls almost every day, generally around dinner, taking a bath or watching tv. In spite of putting my phone number in DNC lists and complaining to FTC, the calls still continue. I understand that these people are out there to make money but geez, they are so annoying.

Of course I have never answered it. If I recognized it’s a “human” who actually on the phone, I have my usual approach, it also depends on my mood. Sometimes, I have to cut them off as soon as possible by saying “Thank you, I am not interested and please do not call me again, and put me on your do-not call list. But if I have a long day at work, my usually approach is “Please not now, call me again when I’m bored” or I ask to put him on hold and put it on speaker phone while I continue to eat.


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